Thursday, November 26, 2015

title pic Rosemary Clooney’s “White Christmas” Costume

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on December 11, 2011

Rosemary Clooney’s “White Christmas” Costume 


You don’t have to be dreaming of a White Christmas to love the 1950s costumes that Rosemary Clooney wore in the 1954 classic film, White Christmas“.  With the fitted bodices and huge, pouffy skirts held out by crinolines, Rosemary’s dresses were the epitome of 1950s fashion.  Edith Head (the renowned Hollywood costume designer), concocted the most lovely gowns for Miss Clooney’s performance in this movie, so imagine how excited I was to discover that her original blue lace film costume had turned up online and was being restored to its former grandeur! 


Today this famous film costume is just as lovely, though the colors appear to have faded in the bodice.

While I’m not a huge fan of all the White Christmas costumes (there were a number of skimpy ones in addition to the many beautiful gowns!), Rosemary’s blue lace dress was just stunning.  She is seen wearing this evening gown for the initial “Sisters” song and dance sequence. 

I wonder how many yards of tulle and netting it took to make each of those skirts!

As shown in the photographs, this film costume is comprised of a multi-layered tulle skirt and a sweetheart neckined bodice which is overlaid with sparkly Venetian lace.  The colorized version of the film portrays the dress as being a medium bright-blue, though it has now faded to a perinwinkle skirt and light blue bodice.


In this shot you get a glimpse of the lace tie hanging down the skirt.

 Discovering the Dress

When the owners of the Rosemary Clooney House spotted this dress on Ebay, they snatched it up immediately!  While the vintage store that was selling wasn’t aware of just how famous this dress was, these Clooney enthusiasts felt sure they had found the original costume.  As this museum already owned a number of film costumes from “White Christmas”, they could  compare sewing techniques such as seam finishes and zipper installation. 


What intricate sequined lace!

While these all seemed to suggest this dress was indeed the authentic gown, the Rosemary Clooney staff resorted to one final step to make sure they had found the actual movie costume – By printing larger than life sized photographs of stills from the movie, the team compared every minute detail of dress, right down to each lace swirl, and found that this is in fact Rosemary Clooney’s famous blue dress. 

Red Dress from “White Christmas”

This gown is now on display at the Rosemary Clooney House in Kentucky, which also houses a replica of the stunning red satin Christmas gown which she wore for the film’s finale.   The original version of this costume has not yet turned up, but some seamstress did a terrific job of replicating it. 

These glorious red satin gowns were absolutely stunning, and the museum’s reproduction is equally gorgeous.
To see more photographs of the White Christmas film costumes today, you can visit the Rosemary Clooney Museum which houses the largest collection of White Christmas movie memorabilia in the world. 
And don’t miss my own Christmas red 1950s dress that will be coming soon!  If all goes well, it should be online in a few days. 
Merry Christmas!
“… And may all your Christmases be white!”

title pic A Lacy Edwardian Tea Gown

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on December 1, 2011

In true Edwardian fashion, I had this gown photographed in a 1914 mansion.
I have finished my lacy Edwardian tea gown sewn with Sense & Sensibility’s wonderful pattern, and I can hardly wait to share the results! This fantastic design is wonderfully easy to sew, and I made a couple slight changes – shortening the sleeves, and sewing just one layer of overlay, using the whole skirt pattern rather than having a panel down the front that isn’t overlaid. Besides that, this dress gown is nearly identical to the original pattern.  You can see more pictures over on the Edelweiss Patterns Facebook page.  Enjoy!  

A delicate embroidered netting overlays the ivory silk shantung skirt on this gown.

Scalloped lace at the hem adds a finishing touch to this silk gown.

In back, the overlay cascades down beneath the pouffy silk bow.


I hand-pleated some lovely lavender ribbon for trim around the neckline.



The lace appliques on the sleeves were applied to the basic sleeve pattern, at which point the silk was cut away from behind the lace and hand stitched in place. The center bodice panel was decorated with numerous rows of puffed lace.



The center bodice panel was decorated with numerous rows of puffed lace.


It is always so much fun to walk down an elegant staircase in a long, drapy gown!

I’m sure this mansion’s former residents must have held some grand Christmas parties here!
One of my favorite parts of this dress is the silk dupioni sash in a rich plum color.
By some miracle my hair stayed curled without any hairspray…

This lovely dress would probably only have been worn for indoor tea parties, but it looks just as pretty outside.

 I had so much fun getting these photographs taken, and the mansion in these photographs was completed in 1914 – a very likely year for this gown to have been worn.  The fabric of the dress is silk shantung, with an embroidered tulle overlay and silk dupioni sash.  I like to imagine if the house’s Edwardian inhabitants would have ever worn a similar dress…  At any rate, I absolutely loved wearing this gown, and I felt as if I’d stepped back in time one hundred years in the grand old mansion!

Happy sewing!


title pic A Von Trapp Wedding

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on November 26, 2011



Captain von Trapp and Maria after their wedding on November 26,1927.


The Real von Trapp Wedding ~ On November 27th, 1929, Captain Georg Ritter von Trapp and Maria Augusta Kutschera were wed in the church of Nonnberg Abbey with all seven children present. 

In our childhood memories we can probably all recall the nuns singing “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”  as Maria strode down the aisle wearing her elegant silk wedding dress in”The Sound of Music“.  It is perhaps one of the most recognized and well-loved scenes in motion picture history, and continues to delight audiences around the world. 


The frigid temperatures made filming this scene difficult for everyone involved.

But in typical Hollywood style, the screen version of the von Trapp wedding was altered from the original event, especially since no bride would want such a negative song sung about her on her wedding day!  While the movie depicts the von Trapps’ wedding occuring just before the Anschluss (“In the last golden days of the thirties”), Georg and Maria were really married ten years before the film portrayed.  During the time between their wedding and when the events told in “The Sound of Music” occurred, Maria gave birth to two children and became pregnant with a third.  By the time the “Sound of Music” story begins, the von Trapps had actually lost most of their wealth when the Austrian bank failed.


Photos compiled by Edelweiss Patterns, please do not reproduce.

But back to their wedding!  I must admit that Maria’s von Trapp’s wedding dress was not even remotely as beautiful as the on-screen Sound of Music wedding dress.  Nevertheless, Maria wore a wreath of flowers in her hair as portrayed in the film, with a somewhat-shorter veil which was very similar to the movie version (The film veil was reportedly fourteen feet long and took half a day for “Maria” to learn to walk with.)


On the left is the film setting for the wedding, with the actual location on the right.

While the “Sound of Music” production team chose beautiful Mondsee Cathedral for the wedding location, Georg and Maria were really wed in Nonnberg Abbey itself.  Maria vividly recalled the joyful day, “Ten days before the wedding I entered the convent to prepare for marriage, which is a great sacrament indeed.  When the day arrived I greeted it with joy.  The postulates whom I had shared a room with months before helped me dress in my bridal veil, and for the last time the gate of Nonnberg closed behind me.  Through swimming eyes I saw a packed church, and oh! here were the children coming to lead me down the aisle.  Loudly and solemnly we promised to take each other ‘for better or worse’.” 


The lovely twenty-two room von Trapp villa.

After their marriage Captain von Trapp and Maria settled into family life in the twenty-two room Von Trapp Villa, where they welcomed two daughters in the upcoming years.


Rupert von Trapp was the first von Trapp "child" to marry.

   The next von Trapp family wedding to be celebrated took place in America.  By this time the von Trapps had moved to the United States, and their oldest son Rupert (more or less replaced by “Liesl” in the Broadway musical), had become engaged to an American girl who also came from a family of seven children.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, neither of the von Trapp parents were in attendance at this wedding – Georg had recently passed away, and Maria was hospitalized with an illness.  After their marriage in 1947, Henriette went on to give birth to six children of their own.  Rupert worked as a medical doctor in Rhode Island until his retirement in the 1990s.


Werner and Erika had known each other since childhood, though Erika was several years younger than him.

Only one year after Rupert von Trapp’s wedding, Werner von Trapp (known as “Kurt” to Sound of Music fans) took an Austrian bride who had been a life-long friend of his sister Martina (“Gretl”).  His new wife, Erika Klambauer, moved from Salzburg to Vermont to accomodate the von Trapps’ concert tours in which Werner played a vital role.  When at last the Trapp Family Singers retired to private life, Werner farmed in the Waitsfield, Vermont area where he and Erika raised six children.

That same year, in 1948, Joanna von Trapp made history as the first von Trapp daughter to marry, as well as the only one to elope.  Her stepmother (Maria) was concerned that the loss of Joanna’s voice would hinder the family’s singing group and thus positively forbid her twenty-seven year old daughter to marry at all.  But since her fiancee’ was a long-time family friend and an Army buddy of her brothers, Joanna decided to marry Ernst Winter and move to Vienna where she was able to have a family of her own.  Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her marriage, we have no wedding photographs at all that remain.  However, all sources seem to say that Ernst and Joanna had a wonderful life together, and thorougly enjoyed family living with their seven children who they raised in Austria.


In 1948, the youngest of the first seven children was married.

In 1949, Martina von Trapp (the youngest of the original seven Trapp children) was married to the Canadian Jean Dupire on the Von Trapp property in Stowe, Vermont.  It is curious to note that just one year after Joanna’s marriage Martina was allowed to marry and therefore leave the singing group, but I think that there may be an explanation for Maria’s apparent change of heart.  Firstly, Joanna had wished to move to Austria where her then-future husband was located, which would have taken away any hope of her career with the Trapp Family Singers.  Secondly, Maria had instantly developed a liking for Jean, and in her biography had written, “These were just the type of boys I had always wanted my girls to marry!” 

At any rate, Martina and Ernst had a happy marriage which came to a devastating end when she passed away during the birth of their first child.  The baby girl also passed away at the time of the delivery and was named “Notburga” before being laid to rest with her mother. 


In 1954, Eleanore von Trapp was wed to her American husband.

The next von Trapp child to marry was Eleanore, the charming, vivacious daughter of Georg and Maria who was the only von Trapp girl to marry an American, and the first of Maria’s children to marry.  Eleanore was a radiant bride, and she and her husband Hugh Campbell settled down only minutes from the family property in Stowe, Vermont.  Like her other married siblings, Eleanore was fond of large families and gave birth to seven daughters!


Today, Johannes von Trapp runs the enormously successful Trapp Family Lodge.

The last von Trapp child to marry was Johannes von Trapp in 1969.  He was the youngest of the Captain and Maria’s offspring, and after his marriage he continued to live on the Trapp property where he eventually took over the family hotel business.  Johannes and his wife Lynn Peterson had met when she came to work at the Trapp Family Lodge.  Today they have two children, both of whom are married and live within walking distance of their home.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this study of the von Trapp Family weddings, and would highly recommend a visit to the Trapp Family Lodge for any fan of the Sound of Music story.